Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I got a buzz of bumblebees

(Catching up on Spring 2014)

I heard that bumble bees like their nests on or low to the ground and that the best way to make them happy is to take a mouse nest and put it in a box with a small hole.
 
At home I had a mouse nest in my compost bin outside that I left alone so I could use it when I was ready.
 
I took a wooden unpainted bird house and put half the mouse nest in it.  I set it on the ground next to a pillar and held by a brick on top.
 
It was situated under the soffit of my outside patio so it was mostly out of the rain. All the advice online (Y-tube is best) on raising bumble bees says to use upholstery stuffing--the cotton, not polyurethane which catches on their feet.
 
I watched a video on nurturing-nature that showed a queen looking for a nest.

She focused strongly on a dead mouse corpse so it showed how she was scenting on mice looking for an old mouse nest she can use.
 
I was so happy when within two weeks a bumblebee queen had moved in. We've had a ton of rain lately so I put a piece of plastic on the bird house roof to keep the rain out. When I did this I could hear lots of buzzing inside so even though it was cold and wet outside there was a warm buzz on the inside.
 
A few days later it was still cool but not raining and I sat outside for an hour or so and watched workers coming and going from the box to my back yard flowers  I was so thrilled to have provided a home for bumble bees.
 
About a week later I went out to check on the nest and sadly found the bird house on it's side and the inside was empty.  A skunk attack I think.  I felt so bad.  I could only hope the bees were able to fly away.
 
Hard lesson learned that a bumblebee nest on or close to the ground must be secured so that skunks or maybe raccoons cannot tip it over or interfere with it too much.
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